The Best Show on Earth

This summer, KHC features daily posts about the speakers and topics in the Humanities catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Bronco Bustin’ Showmen and Their Spectacular Wild West Shows” by Jane Rhoads.

Poster, 1899. Printed by Courier Litho, Co., Buffalo, NY. Via Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Poster, 1899. Printed by Courier Litho, Co., Buffalo, NY. Via Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division.

Roping, trick riding, sharp shooting—Wild West show actors used their talents and honed their skills in order to amaze and delight audiences across the country as they romanticized the rough and tumble days of the American West.

Speakers Bureau presenter Jane Rhoads explores how Wild West show entertainers delighted audiences in the United States and abroad at the turn of the 20th century. Little known is that a surprising number of skilled cowboys and breathtaking shows originated here in the Great Plains region. Her presentation highlights famous western entertainers including Will Rogers, Pawnee Bill, Tom Mix, and Lucille Mulhall.

Jane Rhoads

Jane Rhoads

Jane Rhoads is the author of Kansas Opera Houses, Actors, and Community Events 1855–1925, a 2009 Notable Kansas Book. She has traveled the state locating and photographing Kansas’ remaining opera houses and learning about their social and theatrical significance.

You can attend Jane Rhoads’ “Bronco Bustin’ Showmen and Their Spectacular Wild West Shows” on July 26 in Arkansas City and July 28 in Dodge City. You can also bring this or one of the other presentations in the Humanities catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, director of programs, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.